In a $5 million-plus investment, Trilogy Plastics Inc. is building a 105,000-square-foot plant in Alliance, Ohio, as the rotational molder consolidates two factories, including an aging headquarters building, from its longtime home of Louisville.
The good news for Trilogy's 95 employees: Alliance is only about 10 miles away. That's good news for Trilogy management too, President Stephen Osborn said.
Osborn said he got telephone calls trying to lure Trilogy out of Ohio. But that was never an option for the firm, which custom molds tight-tolerance parts and does assembly.
``We wanted to keep our people. We have a really good work force,'' Osborn said.
That's not just business-speak. Rotomolding is hot, physical work, and an operator plays a key role in turning out quality parts. That makes it hard to uproot a rotomolding operation and move far away.
``It's really, really important to have good people, and people who care,'' Osborn said in a June 8 interview, as crews were getting ready to begin site preparation in Alliance.
Trilogy and its general contractor, Geis Co. of Streetsboro, Ohio, are on a fast-track schedule. ``We expect to start moving machines over in October and be up and running completely by the end of the year,'' Osborn said.
The company will move its six rotomolding machines and three computer numerically controlled routers to Alliance from its two plants in Louisville. Officials plan to buy a seventh rotomolding machine, either as part of the move or early next year.
The new plant will be set up for eight machines. Osborn said Trilogy will be able to add 67,000 square feet in the future.
In Louisville, Trilogy operates out of two factories with a total of 104,000 square feet. That's about the same size as the new Alliance plant, but Osborn said moving from two plants, which have been expanded piecemeal over the years, into a single building will boost production capacity 30-40 percent.
``We're going to pick up a lot more in manufacturing capacity just because we're so broken-up now,'' he said.
Osborn and partner Bruce Frank, who is vice president, bought the company in 1987 from a creditor. The rotomolder had changed hands with several different owners in the 1970s, he said.
Originally named Old King Cole Inc. and based in Canton, Ohio, the firm has a colorful history that began more than 100 years ago. Old King Cole became well-known for making paper mache figures of advertising icons like Mr. Peanut and Nipper, the RCA dog famous for hearing ``his master's voice.'' The company got into rotomolding in the 1960s.
Old King Cole also turned out military products, including protective liners for bombers during World War II and large radomes for radar installations in the 1950s.
The company moved to the plant in the heart of small-town Louisville in the 1940s. That plant, after several additions, now measures 44,000 square feet.
The new owners renamed the company Trilogy Plastics. Pressed for space, they leased a second building down the street for rotomolding, routers, assembly and a foaming department. That operation more than doubled in size, to 60,000 square feet today.
The city of Alliance granted Trilogy Plastics a 100 percent, 15-year abatement on real estate taxes. As part of the deal, the company said it plans to create at least 15 new jobs during the next three years. Trilogy generated more than $9 million in 2004 sales.
Geis, the contractor for the new plant, also built rotomolder Step2 Co.'s factory in Streetsboro, Ohio.